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Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff: Penn State vs Vermont Preview

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The final non-conference game for PSU hockey will be a great opportunity to move up in the rankings.

Aston Pennsylvania's Ricky DeRosa
Aston Pennsylvania's Ricky DeRosa
Photo by Ricky the Giraffelover

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pa. Home of the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers

When: Saturday 1 p.m.

TV: None.

Stream: gopsusports.com ($)

In what will be the Icer's final non-televised game of the year, the team will take on the Vermont Catamounts. While the game is listed as being at a neutral site, it is likely that the crowd will lean heavily in favor of Guy Gadowsky's squad. A busload of PSU students will be making the day trip to cheer on the team. Many alumni and fans from the area will fill the stadium with blue and white as well. The Lions hope to improve on the 12-7-4 record it has put together this season. The team has not won a neutral site game this year, owning a 0-3-1 record.

Scouting The Opponent

Vermont (15-8-2) is a solid hockey team competing in the Hockey East conference. Since Christmas the team has struggled with a record of (2-5-1) with the wins coming over mediocre squads Dartmouth and Air Force. To be fair though, two of the five losses were at the hands of Boston University (#3 PairWise), one was to Yale (#16 PairWise) one to Providence (#9 PairWise) and one to Northeastern (#24 PairWise).

The PairWise rankings are a system used to approximate the teams that will make the NCAA tournament. The system is not an official selection tool. However it is accurate nearly 100% of the time in predicting the field of teams that the selection committee will choose to enter the field of sixteen teams.

While the Catamounts have been on a slide since Santa stopped by, it is not fair to call it a free fall. More accurately the team has been unable to beat quality opponents as of late.

Senior defender Mike Paliotta, a Chicago Blackhawk draft pick, leads the team in scoring with 23 points including a very impressive 7 goals. The 6'4" two-hundred five pound captain also leads the Catamounts with 28 penalty minutes.

Mario Puskarich is a solid contributor as well with 21 points on 10 goals and 11 assists. Senior forward Colin Markison, from nearby Princeton, New Jersey, has 19 points. Vermont has seven other players with double-digit points so the scoring is spread around evenly.

Junior goalie Brodie Hoffman has started fifteen games and has a 2.08 goals against average to go with a record of 10-3-2. Sophomore Mike Santaguida has started ten games in net and has an equally impressive 1.51 goals against average and a record of 5-5-0. Santaguida will almost certainly be in goal this weekend as Hoffman was suspended from the team earlier this week.

Vermont scores 2.84 goals per game off 30 shots while holding opponents to 1.88 goals off 26.2 shots per game. While it does not shoot the puck as often as Penn State the team plays with a similar fast pace. The team is coached by Kevin Sneddon, who has been at the helm for twelve seasons in Burlington.

NOTES:

  • This will be the third professional stadium the team has played in this season after a pair of games at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh and Madison Square Garden in New York.
  • John Dufford, Penn State Icer Hall of Famer, passed away yesterday at the age of 94. Here is an archived story from Michael Palm in the Daily Collegian twenty years ago.
  • The comment section of this article will be used as the open-thread conversation during the game. This will be a tough conversation since it is the final game of the year that will not be televised. Any input that can be added will be greatly appreciated.
  • Check out this short video featuring Hobey Baker award nominee Taylor Holstrom.
  • Check out this short video featuring Casey Bailey.